KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday said the chapter of conspiracies being hatched in the last one year had been buried for good, adding that the desecration of martyrs’ monuments and attacks on military installations was the darkest chapter in the nation’s history.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of K-IV water supply project here, he said the strings of May 9 riots were attached to the conspirators sitting abroad.
“No one should object if we punish the arsonists as per our law like the US did to its citizens for storming the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Justice requires that these perpetrators be tried like the rioters of the Capitol building. If that punishment was legal, then no one should object if we do so under our law for the desecration of our martyrs,” he emphasised.
Recalling his recent interaction with the family members of martyrs, he said their dear ones had rendered sacrifices for the country but the arsonists desecrated their monuments.
The prime minister said the person who always blamed others for plunder resorted to arson when arrested on charges of corruption.
“What kind of politics is this?” he questioned.
He said the leaders of MQM and PPP gave a message of national unity, which was must for the country’s development. He said the coalition government coped with huge challenges through collective wisdom, including floods, inflation, IMF and also the nefarious designs of chaotic politics, which culminated on the darkest day of May 9.
Committing to revive Pakistan’s lost grandeur, the prime minister lamented unnecessary delay in the K-IV project that was meant to provide drinking water to millions of residents of Karachi. Shehbaz asked the ministries concerned to provide uninterrupted funding for completion of the project without further delay. He said the project was most important for him because the people of Quaid’s city lacked drinking water.
The prime minister assured that he would put the project atop his priorities in the upcoming budget and provide maximum funds for its early completion.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Shah said the project was of utmost importance to meet Karachi’s water needs. Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal Sabzwari said the K-IV project was also a part of agreement between the MQM and ruling coalition. He said unnecessary delay in the project led to a huge increase in the cost. He said the whole province had serious reservations about the census. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said starting from 2002, the project used to be an example of ill-planning and faced immense delay. He urged the federal government to ensure provision of funds for timely completion of the project.
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori said under the leadership of prime minister and Foreign Minister Bilawal, the project was moving ahead.
He said for the first time, the federal and provincial governments were on the same page to execute the much-delayed project. He said May 9-like incidents had united the nation and thwarted the designs of miscreants. Meanwhile, speaking to a gathering of businessmen and investors here, Shehbaz urged them to help the government in overcoming the multiple challenges and take lead in creating jobs and enhancing exports.
He said Pakistan faced multiple challenges and the economy could only make progress if there was political stability.
He said the common man wanted facilities of health and education, service delivery and resolution of everyday problems. Shehbaz said inflation was high even when he formed the government a year ago.
He pointed out that political instability was the cause of present difficult economic conditions. “The last government broke its agreement with the International Monetary Fund and then the country was devastated by the biggest climate-induced floods of the century,” he mentioned.
The prime minister said the federal government spent Rs100 billion -- Rs72 billion through the Benazir Support Programme and Rs20 billion through the National Disaster Management Authority -- for rehabilitation of flood victims besides the billions spent by the provincial governments for the same purpose. Another reason for economic hardship was the rise in international oil prices and substantial increase in the oil import bill, he remarked.
Shehbaz said the International Monetary Fund imposed stringent conditions for its loan programme and his government met all of those conditions. He said many friendly countries came forward and bridged the financing gaps faced by Pakistan without putting any conditions. “Brotherly countries wish Pakistan to make progress and the Chinese government and even their commercial banks rolled over the loans,” he said, adding that the government sincerely tried to avail itself of the IMF programme and the Chinese prime minister also cooperated with Pakistan.
Talking about the political situation, he said in the last one year, the country had seen political instability, and division in every section of society had shaken the foundation of Pakistan and a particular mindset was created which was harmful for the nation.
Addressing a ceremony at the Textile Expo here, Shehbaz urged the exporters to come up with innovative and unique ideas to boost exports, which would ultimately help the country earn valuable foreign exchanges.
“Despite various challenges, we have very robust, very futuristic, and extremely hardworking entrepreneurs that have gradually built Pakistan’s export culture,” he said.
Welcoming the foreign delegates, the PM said he was happy to learn that over 400 foreign delegates from 60 countries were visiting, which showed Pakistan was a valuable destination for foreign guests, buyers, and traders.
Shehbaz also appreciated industrialists, exporters, and experts who contributed immensely to promoting Pakistan’s textile and leather exports. He said Pakistan’s industry had now been transformed and converted to air jet looms, ginning, spinning, and weaving. The PM said the textile sector constituted 60 percent of total exports, while 40 percent labour force was absorbed in this sector. “It is no doubt one of the largest sectors of Pakistan’s economy,” he added.
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